20 August 2007


Wow! Did this summer fly by! I can’t believe classes start next Wednesday. I can’t believe I’m buying books right now, or that I have an orientation at GMU this Thursday. Where did my summer go? Where did my trips to Great Falls go? Where did Sunday morning perusing the local farmers markets go? How is it that my summers are always packed full of weekends traveling about the Northeast, but rarely do I seem to have time to enjoy them? I look forward to summer, I build it up, I have more expectations than can possibly fit into that short span between April and September. It’s not that it hasn’t been great fun. It has. It’s just that there’s always so much more I wanted to do when these chilly days of fall start coming upon us. I know I’m jumping the gun here, it’s only mid-August, but DC had one of those fall days today. It’s football season now, the leaves will change soon, and it’s time to go back to school…for all intents and purposes, summer has passed.

I’m developing a new framework as of late to understand how the psychology of all of these expectations works. Developing is a lie…I’m reading a book called Stumbling on Happiness, and, though it’s far from an academic treatise, it helpfully lays out the research of how the mind imagines a future, only summarily filling in the blanks. How we imagine our tomorrow’s much like our todays but with little regard for time, for reasonable expectations. Our imaginations are so far from exact tools. I imagined a summer of endless weekends spent at the beach, in the woods, meandering the streets of DC, and cuddled up with my baby. I imagined more into that summer than time could possibly allow, but in my temporally inept imagination, it all fit nicely, sequentially on my timeline. Oh well, one can’t lament, I suppose on such a summer spent. I did have fun, I did see old friends and go to some great parties. I saw the ocean once again, and spent time in my baby’s arms. Now it’s almost fall…and I love the changing of the leaves, the chill in the air, the Steelers on TV. I’ll try not to make the same mistake…to imagine an impossibly wonderful fall…but aren’t we optimistic creatures? I’m sure I’ll fall victim to the same trap and write this same post again on the first snowfall of the year…but so be it.

19 August 2007

Amusement Parks – A Marxist Oasis (At Least They Used To Be)

I spent the day yesterday at Six Flags America with my roommate. It was great…no crowds, perfect weather, hit every coaster in the park twice. Superman is one of the best steel coasters I’ve EVER ridden; just plain awesome, but I still love the classic wooden coasters the most. There was just one thing that bugged me throughout the day.

Standing in line gave me some time to reflect on this new phenomenon that Six Flags refers to as the Flash Pass. Maybe it was only by virtue of the annoyance caused me by being cut in front of on numerous occasions by “Flash Pass Riders,” but this seemed to me not just dumb but an egregious affront to the communist social contract that riders and amusement park operators enter into once said rider has paid admission into the park. Yes, yes, I know that the capitalists have already taken over the front gates and the food stands…oy! for crying out loud, the food stands! But besides paying for my $8 diet cola, $4 hotdog, and a scrumptious $5 fried, gooey, powder-sugared, goodness known as a funnel cake, I expect lines! And I expect all to be on equal footing in those lines! I expect every rider to understand that she will patiently (or impatiently) wait in the hot sun, moving one foot every 5 minutes, bumping butts, elbows, shoulders, and whatever else gets in the way with the guest in front of, behind, and beside her, enduring the screams of dehydrated and bored children until she finally reaches that joyous moment when she is at the front of the line waiting for that gate to open so that she may slide into that seat, lock down her harness and bask in her 45 seconds of ecstasy that is an amusement park ride. She should not, after waiting all that time in that hot sun be told that “this is a Flash Pass Train, please step back and allow Flash Pass Riders to choose their seats.” She should not have to wait for the next train, it’s her turn!

The capitalist pigs are making an inroad into this amazing little oasis where we all stood once on equal ground, all stood together waiting on queue for our piece of the pie. No longer…now any impatient schmuck with a little disposable income can jump to the front of the line. Soon everyone will buy a pass, and then there’ll be a Flash Pass Line to wait on, and we’ll have two trains…one for Flashers and one for the poor bastards who couldn’t afford it. We’ll have a two-tiered amusement park society! A Six Flags apartheid! But the Flash Passers won’t want to wait in line, so there will then be tiers of Flash Passes with auctions to set the prices. The haves will be paying $100 extra per ride, just to jump to the front! WAIT YOUR TURN! I say. Give us back our little communist refuge in this die hard capitalist world. Take away the Flash Pass before it ruins us all!